Ayurveda science of life Thousands of years before modern medicine provided scientific evidence for the mind-body and soul connection, the sages of India developed Ayurveda, which continues to be one of the world's most sophisticated and powerful mind-body and soul health systems.
Ayurveda originated in India more than 5,000 years ago and is often called the "Mother of All Healing." Ayurvedic science teaches us how to adapt to nature's rhythm in our daily life. With a unique emphasis on total wellness, the art, and science of Ayurveda work to harmonize our internal and external worlds. Science of Ayurveda has eight branches and all of the texts were written in Sanskrit, the language of the Aryans:
- * Kaayachikitsa - Internal Medicine,
- * Baalachikitsa - Pediatrics,
- * Bhuta Vidya - Psychiatry,
- * Shalakya Tantra - Ear, Nose and Throat Treatment,
- * Shalya Tantra - Surgery (not practiced in the United States today),
- * Vishagara Vairodh Tantra – Toxicology,
- * Jarachikitsa/Rasayana - Geriatrics and Rejuvenation,
- * Vajikarana - Aphrodisiac Therapy, Fertility, and Conception.
Ayurvedic approach is not limited to any particular diet, herbal formulation or treatment. An appropriate health regime is determined for each individual depending on one's inherited humoral balance, age, mental capacity, digestive power and compatibility with food, elimination habits, and many other considerations. Ayurvedic treatment may involve a change of diet, change of life style and habits, herbal regime, internal cleansing, and elimination of accumulated humoral waste. As a science of health maintenance, Ayurveda is focusing mostly on perfecting bio-rhythm and metabolism, the whole process of breaking down and building up cellular structures in the formation and maintenance of tissues. This process summarizes in certain functions of the digestive truck as digestion, absorption, assimilation and elimination and can be referred in Western philosophy to dividing metabolism into two categories: catabolism - breaking down of molecular structures, and anabolism - building it up. In Ayurveda these stages correspond with Vata (catabolism), Pitta (metabolism), and Kapha (anabolism). These represent the three humors, called Doshas. Each person has a particular pattern of energy-an individual combination of physical, mental and emotional characteristics-which comprises their own constitution. This constitution is determined at conception by a number of factors and remains the same throughout one's life. According to Ayurvedic philosophy the entire cosmos is an interplay of the energies of the five great elements - Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Vata, pitta and kapha are combinations and permutations of these five elements that manifest as patterns present in all creation. Vata is the energy of movement; pitta is the energy of digestion or metabolism and kapha, the energy of lubrication and structure. All people have the qualities of vata, pitta and kapha, but one is usually primary, one secondary and the third is usually least prominent. The cause of disease in Ayurveda is viewed as a lack of proper cellular function due to misbalance in those three doshas. Disease can also be caused by the presence of toxins.
Vata corresponds with energy associated with movement - composed of Space and Air. It governs breathing, blinking, muscle and tissue movement, pulsation of the heart, and all movements in the cytoplasm and cell membranes. In balance, vata promotes creativity and flexibility. Out of balance, vata produces fear and anxiety. Pitta is referred as the body's metabolic system - made up of Fire and Water. It governs digestion, absorption, assimilation, nutrition, metabolism and body temperature. In balance, pitta promotes understanding and intelligence. Out of balance, pitta arouses anger, hatred and jealousy. Kapha is the energy that forms the body's structure - bones, muscles, tendons - and provides the "glue" that holds the cells together. It is formed from Earth and Water. Kapha supplies the water for all bodily parts and systems. It lubricates joints, moisturizes the skin, and maintains immunity. In balance, kapha is expressed as love, calmness and forgiveness. Out of balance, it leads to attachment, greed and envy.
Many factors, both internal and external, disturb our balance and are reflected as a change in one's constitution leading to misbalance. Those include one's emotional state, diet and food choices, seasons and weather, physical trauma, work and family relationships. Once these factors are understood, their effects can be minimized or removed resulting in elimination of imbalance and re-establishing one's original constitution.
Ayurveda uses various techniques for assessing health. The practitioner carefully evaluates key signs and symptoms of disorder, especially in relation to the origin and cause of an imbalance. They also consider the patient's suitability for various treatments. Ayurvedic treatment consists of direct questioning, observation and a physical exam, as well as inference. The practitioner uses basic techniques such taking the pulse, observing the tongue, eyes, listening to the tone of the voice during the Ayurvedic assessment. To help eliminate an imbalance palliative and cleansing measures can be used together with suggestions for eliminating or managing the causes of the imbalance. This may include lifestyle changes, starting and maintaining a suggested diet, use of herbs, aromatherapy, color and sound therapy. Some patients might also benefit from a cleansing program, called panchakarma which is a detox process of elimination most if not all body toxins.
Various aspects of Ayurveda are embodied in practically all systematic approaches to health maintenance and preventive medicine regardless of culture. Whereas Yoga was developed as a science of mind and spirituality, Ayurveda has become a healing science concerned with maintaining balance, well-being though proper diet, efficient digestion, personal hygiene, life style, herbal supplementation for internal cleansing, rejuvenation, mental acuity, fertility, and immunity. A balanced body is indicative of a balanced mind and because it is balanced, it is immune to diseases.
Ayurveda can be used together with Western medicine to make a person stronger and less likely to be affected by the disease and/or to rebuild the body when undergoing treatment or surgery. Ayurveda does not focus on disease. Rather, Ayurveda states that all life must be supported by energy in balance. Ayurveda has answers when we go to the doctor only to hear that there is nothing wrong with us but what we feel is a misbalance that has not been manifested yet as a diagnosed disease. Ayurveda can alleviate this discomfort by restoring balance in our body, mind and consciousness. Ayurveda offers renewed access to our natural intelligence. As the original circadian medicine, it holds the key to resolve a present disconnect with wellbeing. Thus, this ancient medicine offers the promise of a more harmonious future for the people and planet.